Date: 13th September 2008 at 10:33am
Written by:

Sunderland come to the JJB in September for the second year running, last season an unflattering 3-0 home win saw the Latics sit proudly at the top of the Premier League, for 24 hours any way.

This game is at the end of an international week, with both clubs having the majority of their squad away on international duty the managers, Steve Bruce and Roy Keane, will be hoping that players have returned unscathed from their little trips.

One player that should be making the starting eleven today for Sunderland is none other than our old friend Pascal Chimbonda the ex-Latics favourite and undoubtedly talented right back.

Chimbonda left the JJB rather acrimoniously back in August 2006 when he signed for Spurs, but players do move on and that is accepted and Pascal was awesome for us during our first season in the Premier League, having said that though I will be giving him some stick today.

Sunderland have spent heavily during the summer and have built a squad twice the size of the Latics in numbers but falling quite short in terms of quality, lets hope for the fans sake that they can avoid relegation this season for this would surely put the future of the club in jeopardy.

I am looking forward to a good display today from the Latics and a resounding result that will echo last seasons three niler would do me, confidence will be high following the drubbing of Hull last time out, I can see Latics pushing for a place in the top six this season

What the bosses

Latics boss Steve Bruce:

‘It’s one of those games you can’t afford to lose and Roy Keane will be saying the same thing.

‘We expect Sunderland to be one of our competitors, and it’ll be like it was with Hull after they beat Fulham.

‘It was a huge win for us in our last game because if Hull had turned us over too, they’d have got off to a wonderful start, so it’s important that we get a result.’

Sunderland boss Roy Keane:

‘I thought we got bullied there last season when we lost 3-0 and I don’t forget these games. We gave away some bad goals and we need a vast improvement.

‘I have a lot of time for Steve Bruce, he’s done a brilliant job at Wigan.

‘No doubt he will have them well organised. They are a big, strong team and are a goal threat. I watched them against Chelsea a few weeks ago and they were impressive. We face a real challenge, Steve has put together a capable side.’

Wigan Athletic Team News:

Erik Edman is still out and joined by Jason Koumas who picked up an ankle injury playing for Wales, Kevin Kilbane is available with his mask to protect the depressed fracture of his cheek.

Latics from:

Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Scharner, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios, Kilbane, Heskey, Zaki, Bramble, Brown, Camara, De Ridder, Kapo, Koumas, Kupisz, Taylor, Pollitt.

Player to watch: Amr Zaki

This guy is on fire at the moment and quickly becoming the Premier Leagues most feared striker

Sunderland Team News:

Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney could be given their first starts in a Ssunderland shirt, Dean Whitehead is definately out.

Sunderland from:

Gordon, Ward, Chimbonda, Ferdinand, Nosworthy, Collins, McCartney, Bardsley, Higginbotham, Diouf, Leadbitter, Miller, Reid, Richardson, Malbranque, Tainio, Cisse, Murphy, Healy, Stokes.

Player to watch: Pascal Chimbonda

Ex-Latics favourite and undoubted quality, how will he handle the barage of boos?

Any Previous

Last Season
Wigan Athletic 3-0 Sunderland
18th August 2007
Ref: Mike Riley

Latics tore Sunderland apart last year and goals from Heskey 19, Landzaat 62 pen, Sibierski 69 pen gave the three points to the Latics and sent us to the top of the table

Previous league meetings:
Latics 3 wins, Sunderland 3, Draws 4

Ref Watch:

Rob Styles (Waterlooville, Hampshire)

Card Count

Games – 2

Yellows – 8

Reds – 0

Match Prediction:

Heart says 3-0 Latics

Head says 2-1 Latics

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